Scout Alarm has been selling security systems since 2013. The company, based in Chicago, used crowd funding (through Kickstarter) and pre-ordering to finance operations. The company began shipping systems in 2015. The systems are do-it-yourself (DIY) sold online through a number of outlets, including Amazon.
The sensors and detectors are proprietary and use a ZigBee hub. Currently the offerings are limited and do not include cameras or specialty sensors such as flood, break glass or temperature units.
You create your own equipment package and then must choose from one of two monitoring plans.
You can opt for self-monitoring or professional monitoring. Plans are month-to-month but the company offers discounts for one-year contracts. If you want to use the iPhone or Android apps, which is how the self-monitoring program works, Scout Alarm charges a small fee for doing so. Currently there is no control app for Blackberry phones.
Since the system uses the ZigBee protocol instead of the more common Z-Wave that most home security companies use, any smart app controls for home appliances are limited to particular brands.
The company is not registered with the Better Business Bureau.
Scout Alarm Pros
- One-year equipment warranty
- Thirty-day, money-back guarantee
- Excellent customer service reviews
- Back-up 3G
- Month-to-month professional monitoring with no contracts available
Scout Alarm Complaints
- Large sensors and detectors
- Poor battery life
- Expensive components
- Limited motion sensor range and field of vision
- Not compatible with Z-Wave
- No video
- No panic alarms
- No compatible fire or smoke detectors available
- Numerous user complaints that the motion sensors are not reliable
Home Security Packages Overview and Charges
|Packages*||Always On||Always On +|
|Scout Mobile App||x||x|
|Push Notifications to Mobile Devices||x||x|
|3G Cellular and Battery Backup||x||x|
*Users determine what components to purchase
Home Security Service Overview
The Scout Alarm Company markets systems slightly differently that most home security companies. Everything is DIY. There are no equipment or component packages per se with Scout Alarm. Each user must decide for his or herself what sorts of sensors or detectors they desire. When you purchase your system, you get a choice of hub and sensor colors: white, brown or black.
You must purchase a hub which plugs into your Internet panel. Users then go through certain steps to connect whatever components purchased.
Scout Alarm has no monitoring contracts. The service is paid for month-to-month and users can opt out at any time without penalty. You can save 10% on the $19.99/per month charge if you agree to keep the service for one-year.
The Scout Alarm hub allows the system to connect through the internet. The hubs are compatible with ZigBee protocol.
The sensors and detectors are proprietary. They run on small watch batteries. In addition to the hub, the no-frills components offered include:
- Door panel
- Access sensor
- Motion sensor
- Key fob
- Yard sign
- RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) sticker
The sensors have an adhesive backing that allows you to install them virtually anywhere.
Compared to conventional industry sensors such as GE or Honeywell, the Scout Alarm sensors are expensive. For example, a basic GE motion detector costs less than $20. A Scout motion detector costs more than twice as much as a competitor’s unit costs and has half the detection range.
Since the system functions using ZigBee the components connect together using a mesh network. Essentially, each component is a repeater or range extender. This means you do not have to rely on necessarily that your sensor is within range of the hub.
Theoretically, the Scout Alarm system should function with any ZigBee protocol device. The system will connect with Amazon Echo, Nest, LIFX, IFTTT and Phillips Hue lights. These companies have video, smart thermostats, lighting controls and other ZigBee devices which should be compatible with the Scout Alarm systems. However, the company has not released any information as to the specific ZigBee devices that are compatible with Scout Alarm.
The Hub functions as the console or control panel of the system but without any screen or panel. It uses AC power and plugs directly into your Internet router. It communicates on the 802.15.4 frequency and has a range of over 100 feet.
You must purchase one hub per home security setup since it is considered the “brains” of your system. Scout Alarm charges $129 for a Hub.
The door panel sensor mounts on any door in your home or apartment. Unlike other industry sensors, it is not used for windows.
Each door panel comes with two key fobs and one RFID sticker. You use the fob and RFID tag to arm or disarm the panel whenever you are entering or leaving your home.
Users place access sensors on windows, cabinets or anything that opens and closes. Many homeowners use them for medicine, jewelry and gun cabinets.
They are always in monitoring mode and if triggered you can receive a text, email or phone call (if you have professional monitoring service).
Motion sensors can detect movement up to 20 feet away and have a 90° range. Homeowners generally place them in dens, hallways or living areas.
Motion sensors are also useful when you have a bank of windows in one room. You can place the motion sensor on a wall facing the windows and anyone attempting entry will trigger the detector.
Key fobs are used to arm and disarm your door panels. You can register the Scout Alarm key fobs with multiple door panels so that you only need one fob.
Yard signs are considered essential components of a home security system. The theory is that these signs are a major deterrent to potential buglers. If you display a yard sign, thieves are less likely to target your home.
You can use RFID stickers to arm or disarm your door panel from anywhere. The RFID tags adhere to any object.
The founders of the company conceived the idea for Scout Alarm in 2013. They used crowd funding and asked investors to pre-order systems. They quickly raised $500,000 and began shipping to customers by early 2015.
The company, privately held and based in Chicago, claims that they expect to show a profit by 2017 or 2018.
Please share your stories about Scout Alarm Security with us. We would appreciate any comments you can make regarding the reliability of the system, installation, service support or anything at all you would like to mention.
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If you have questions regarding Scout, contact us and we will do our best to find the answer.
Scout Alarm is a very young company. So far, most of the user reviews are positive. The DIY service and support receive excellent reviews (see more users reviews HERE). Lack of monitoring contracts helps set them apart from the current major players in the industry like ADT and others. The biggest complaint most consumers have with home security systems is the three years or longer monitoring contracts that most home security companies require.
There are, however some significant drawbacks to the Scout Alarm systems. There are very few, only three, sensor and detector options. The cost of each item is more than double that charged by other home security companies. The range and sensitivity of the sensors are not as good as the less expensive competitor models. The lack of video and use of ZigBee protocol rather than the more common Z-Wave, and apparent lack of compatibility with all ZigBee products, are also major drawbacks for some.
Finally, there are consistent reports of extremely poor battery life with some users complaining that they must replace the sensor batteries every two to three months.
However, if you want a simple system that does not require programming control panels and complicated setups, then the Scout Alarm Security system may work for you.